(Graphic from CRAP)As the UAW faces a summer of negotiating major new contracts with US automakers NPR could have used this as an opportunity to look a the range of opinions regarding labor strategies and tactics in the current environment of predatory global capital, nonunion southern auto plants, and health insurance ripoffs.
Instead Frank Langfitt limited the discussion to how pragmatic and necessary concessions are.
Yesterday's ATC and today's Morning Edition focused mainly on how UAW president, Ron Gettelfinger, is so grown up and reasonable (though others would disagree). Here is what we hear about Gettelfinger:
- "instead of railing against the company, Gettelfinger went to work making changes in the plant and improving the product."
- "...brings a needed sense of realism as the union bargains with companies staring into the abyss."
- "... a sophisticated person."
- "Instead, the word that keeps coming up when you talk about Gettelfinger is pragmatic."
Langfitt: "...like other workers, Henry's resigned to concessions."See, unions have just been "getting and getting and getting." In fact according to Langfitt (and the conservative George Will) In earlier decades, when Detroit dominated the market, the United Auto Workers got great benefits for their members and built a virtual WELFARE STATE. Now the companies are trying to dismantle it." That is some loaded language. I'm looking forward to NPR's balancing this with describing the auto executives as setting up a virtual extortion ring! I think I'll be waiting awhile for that one.
Henry: "We've been getting and getting and getting, and we may have to give a little back, it's as simple as that."
Langfit: "But he also thinks if Gettelfinger, the union president, makes too many concessions, workers will reject the contract....and yet the consequences of that could be even worse....the companies will just ship jobs to low cost countries."
Some good alternatives to this pro-concession reporting can be found at: Labor Notes and Counter Punch.